How do I get my separation agreement signed?

What makes a separation agreement official? What do you do with your separation agreement once it is signed? Who needs a copy of the separation agreement? Retired and veteran North Carolina divorce attorney Lee Rosen goes through moving forward with this process once a separation agreement is in place.

How Do I Get My Separation Agreement Signed Transcript

How do I get my separation agreement signed, and what do I do with it after it’s been signed? Well, let’s take the first part, how do you get it signed, first. And then we’ll talk about what to do with it afterwards.

A separation agreement in North Carolina in order to be binding must be written, signed, and notarized. So let’s break those down. Written -it’s usually typed out. It’s 10 or 15 pages of legal document. It doesn’t have to be typed, but it must be written in order to be binding on the spouses. That’s number one.

Number two: It must be signed by both parties. A separation agreement that’s not signed by the husband and the wife is not an agreement. You have to have the signatures of both people. And the documents are typically signed in duplicate, meaning we sign two copies at the same time. One is given to the husband. One is given to the wife.

Finally, that document must be notarized. You’re going to sign it in front of a notary. That does not mean that husband and wife have to show up at the same place at the same time. You can each sign in front of separate notaries, but you must find a notary.

You’ll find a notary at your lawyer’s office. A lot of banks will let a customer come in and have something notarized there at the bank. And a lot of UPS stores and postal stores like that have notaries on staff. That’s a way to get it notarized. As long as your document is written, signed, and notarized, then you’re going to have a binding separation agreement.

Now that the agreement is signed, what do you do with it? Do you have to file it somewhere? Boy, I get that question all the time. Where do I file my separation agreement? Well, you don’t have to file it anywhere. That’s not required. Let me tell you what you should do.

Most importantly, you should take your copy of the separation agreement and put it somewhere safe. It should be in your safety deposit box or a fire safe you have at home. It’s an important legal document, and so you want to store it somewhere safe.

Secondly, you might file it with the state at the Register of Deeds office, but the only people that have to file their separation agreements are people who are doing real estate transactions between the time that they signed that agreement and the time that they get divorced. And that’s not very many people. So the odds are that you won’t have to file that agreement with the state at the Register of Deeds office.  Most people don’t.

Finally, if you do have to file that agreement, if you’re one of those people doing a real estate transaction during that period, you don’t actually have to file your agreement. There’s a separate document you can file called a Memorandum of Agreement. It’s a very short one or two-page document that basically says we have a separation agreement that we signed.

And the reason you might prefer to file in a public record a Memorandum of Agreement instead of your separation agreement is that the Memorandum of Agreement won’t have your private information in it. It won’t have all the details of your child’s schedule. It won’t have the details of all your assets and debts. It’ll be a very simple agreement that you file that says we’re able to trade in real estate without the other spouse’s signature, much better in terms of protecting your privacy.

So the bottom line is keep a copy safe. Don’t file your agreement with the state, and if for some reason you have to, use a Memorandum of Agreement instead of the separation agreement if you’re going to put something in the public record. That’s what you do with your separation agreement.


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